February 2018 Optimizer

The Optimizer
February 2018
Menomonee Falls Optimist Club

—- February Meeting schedule —-

All meetings are at 7:15 am at the Community Center except as noted.

  • Feb. 7 Night meeting at YMCA. Everybody knows the Tri-County YMCA has been around practically forever. But…does everybody know everything the Y has to offer? Join us at the Y on Wednesday, February 7th at 6:15 pm. After our regular meeting, we will be guided on a tour to experience the amenities available to our community. Meet us in the main lobby at N84 W17501 Menomonee Avenue. And, after the tour, we’ll continue the discussion at Players Pub on Appleton Avenue. We hope to see you there!
  • Feb. 14 On Valentine’s Day, the speaker will be Diane Gariepy of the MFHS QUEST program. Diane will introduce several of the students from this educational alternative program which has graduated 155 students over the last 10 years. In the past, their stories have been very inspirational.
  • Feb. 21 A doubleheader! First, several of the MFHS, NMS and St. Mary’s students will be presented by Principal’s Bob Vitale, Lynn Grimm and Linda Joyner along with their nominators and be recognized as their Students of the Month. And visiting our Club for the first time, NMS Web Leaders will tell us what their activity is all about!
  • Feb. 28 *TENTATIVE* – Denise Killian Janesak and students in the MFHS Future Educators program are our guests. This is another first for the Optimist Club as we continue to invite clubs and activities that are unique to NMS and MFHS.


—- President’s Thoughts —-

I’m not going to lie, I do not look forward to penning these comments in fear of being redundant, but just in the nick of time I have exciting NEWS to tell you!!

You know my main goal as President is not to just increase membership, but more importantly increase engagement and participation!!  The night meetings have proven to be a great option for members who cannot, or do not want to, attend morning meetings but it isn’t attracting new members.  I do believe more members are volunteering, participating and attending events but not sure if it’s from night meetings or social media!

So…here’s the exciting news…the Social, Service & Young Professional Group Social, held Thurs Jan 25 was a HUGE success.  A wonderful group of “younger” members & future members/volunteers gathered to brainstorm about forming a “club within a club”.  You can see the summary notes from the meeting under “Membership Committee” but in a nutshell, they were ENGAGED AND FULL OF IDEAS!!  NEW GREAT IDEAS AND ENERGY!!   WOO HOO!!!!

They would meet independently of the morning meetings and run a fundraiser that would support the youth of Menomonee Falls.  They would also engage, support & participate in existing events and fundraisers and encourage existing members to do the same with their fundraiser!!  The hope is that they would continue to attract more and more new members and in time everyone would be supporting each other’s efforts.

Just watch the energy of our beloved club reach new heights!!

Your committed friend in Optimism, 
Lynette Shepherd


—- Upcoming Events —-

  • Sat. Feb 3 to Sun. Feb 4 Big Cheese Classic. See article below.
  • Wed. Mar. 7 Night meeting. Teri Lux, president of Community Memorial Hospital
  • Sat. Mar. 10 Distinguished Young Women. See article below.
  • Sat. April 21 Trivia Contest. Mark your calendar and start getting your team together. More info later.


Big Cheese Classic

The WASA (Wisconsin Adaptive Sports Association) Wheelchair Bucks will be hosting the 4th annual Big Cheese Classic on Feb. 3, 2018 & Feb. 4, 2018 at Brookfield East High School fieldhouse in Brookfield, WI.  At press time, we currently have 30 teams scheduled to compete over the 2 days on the 4 courts available.  Games will begin at 8:00 am and conclude around 9:00 pm on Feb. 3.  Games will begin again at 8:00 am on Feb. 4 and conclude at 2:00 pm.  Teams from CA, OH, IL, IN, and WI will be competing in Division 1, Division 3, Varsity, Prep, and Women’s divisions.  Two Paralympians that won Gold in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio are scheduled to play in this tournament.  Admission to the event is free.  We will be selling concessions and hosting a 50/50 raffle on both days, as well as an opportunity basket raffle on Saturday only.  Come on out to see some competitive wheelchair basketball play.  Our Optimist Club is a sponsor for this event.  If you care to volunteer for the event, please contact Todd Paulus (cell #414-719-0009 or email tpaulus@wi.rr.com) to get the sign up link.  You can pick your shift time and tournament duty if you care to help out.  We have many slots that must be filled to help make this event a success.  The WASA Bucks and their families hope to see you there.

Todd Paulus


Distinguished Young Women

The 54th Annual Distinguished Young Women of Menomonee Falls Scholarship Program will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the North Middle School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Fifteen junior girls will be competing for the title and the opportunity to move on to the state competition. The girls are currently learning fitness routines and working on interview skills. Photos and more information about the contestants will be in the March newsletter. It takes many volunteers to put on a production like this one. I need help selling tickets and program books in the lobby the night of the show. I also need a few backstage “moms” who can help with zippers, lace-up prom dresses, etc. Please email Cathy Sharkey at csharkey224@yahoo.com if you are able to help.

Photo by Don Gorzek

The 2018-19 DYW participants have been practicing their physical workout routine since December 28, 2017

Cathy Sharkey



—– Executive Board —–

January Board Meeting Minutes

January 16, 2018

President Lynette Shepherd led the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Meeting synopsis is as follows:

No donation requests.

Treasurer’s report:

Larry Podolske provided update on disbursements and revenue. Group had discussion regarding checks that will be received from Kohl’s for workers at chili dinner. Discussed paying of scholarships in January. There is work being done to complete a list of who we give donations to and a list of what funds come in and what we spend on events.

Committee Reports and Budgets:

  1. Karen Nelson with Do-The-Right Thing Award presented at the meeting. Board approved $900 budget for this award. Board also approved that nominations by limited to approximately 30 and presentations of award be spread out over three meetings.
  2. Board approved SSYPG social budget for event coming up on January 25th at Ally’s Bistro. The purpose of this group and upcoming meeting is to brainstorm ideas to promote the club and fundraising with individuals who are 25 to 40 years old.
  3. DYW budget was approved by the board.

No unfinished Business.

No new Business.

The Board meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 a.m.

Members include:

  • President Lynette Shepherd
  • 1st Vice President Jeanine Dederich
  • 2nd Vice President Dustin Koehler
  • Treasurer Larry Podolske
  • Past President Don Gorzek
  • Past Presidents Council Dan Schwind
  • Board Members: Sue Carney, Tom Dueppen, Chris O’Reilly, Barb Schmit, Kathryn Hoff, Dave Curran

Dustin Koehler



Notes from Social Service Young Professionals Group (SSYPG) Social

January 25, 2018

SSYPG ideas:

  1. Group based on a common interest with a theme based fundraiser to support a like- minded youth group ie:
    • a. Book Club – Book Drive – Literacy program or
    • b. Bowling Team – Bowling tourney – Krueger’s Traveling Bowling School
  2. Specific fundraiser to attract people interested in supporting it through joining the SSYPG and volunteering &/or participating i.e.: Haunted House – Bags Tourney – Softball Tourney
  3. Talked about “corp” group (within a local corp) but decide that may be too “isolated”

This “club within a club” would solicit support & volunteers from the community, as well as, other communities they have influence in and the “parent” club.  The SSYPG would also be encouraged to participate in & volunteer for regular club events.

Follow up meeting –  Monday Feb 26 – 5:30pm Ally Bistro – Core group to invite a couple people each to learn about SSYPG and decide on a sub club theme or fundraiser – Jeanine Dederich, Lynette Shepherd, Larry Podolske (& possibly Cathy Sharkey) to be there to explain Optimist Club mission etc. with Creed banner

Other ideas to attract, engage and keep members:

  • Add “LIKE us on Facebook” page to every weekly email
  • Committee chairs promo events 3 months before event & OFTEN – not 1 month – not only for volunteers but engagement/participation
  • Google Calendars – people can “opt out” – so dates/events are on all member’s calendars
  • Popcorn Wagon – “Like us on Facebook” for 25 cents off popcorn/show us on your phone – buy a stamp & stamp same on all popcorn bags – talked about party size popcorn bags!!  (Larry will check on this)
  • Better social media/Facebook marketing above and beyond weekly meeting and event posts (recruiting)
  • Remind App – regular texts to members vs emails about meetings and events (customizable each week)

Lynette Shepherd


—-JOOI Club—–

This month the Junior Optimist Club hosted a very successful bake sale alongside the adult Optimist Club’s Chili Dinner. We love getting to join the Optimist Club on this night, and we appreciate them letting us set up and utilize the big crowd they draw! The money we raised will be used to fund some of our spring events and, hopefully, allow us to make another charitable donation at the end of the year. We are currently preparing for our annual Souper Bowl of Caring Food Drive. Classrooms at the high school will each have two containers for food collection—one for each team in the Souper Bowl. The class with the most food in the winning team’s bin will win a prize from our club. It’s a fun way to support the Menomonee Falls Food Pantry! We are also looking forward to visiting the adult club at the end of January where we will introduce our hardworking board of students for this school year. See you then!

Alison Leon


—- Past Events —-

Chili Supper

Deb Kimmel and Linda Wagner are ready to serve either meat or meat-less chili. Kathy Kiepert and Dani Ernst team with “Kohls Cares” volunteers to prepare chili carry-outs. Guy and Kris Vance of Sussex enjoy their bowls of chili before the MFHS vs. Sussex- Hamilton Boys Basketball games. It seemed like Sarah Shepherd could not get enough of this year’s special chili. The “Chili Dinner” front registration table crew included Jim Foster, JohnYusko, Joanne Wanner, and Jeanine Dederich. Ginny Rechlicz and grandkids had fun and the “Chili Dinner” event while mom was coaching the MFHS Girls Basketball team at an away game.

Photos by Don Gorzek


2018 marks another successful year for the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club chili dinner. This dinner is a two day event that was held on January 11 and 12. Thursday we make the chili and Friday we sell the chili. This year we held the dinner before the varsity basketball game, Menomonee Falls Indians vs Sussex Hamilton Chargers. Go Indians! We won!

We start preparing for this event in September. At that time, we pick a date, go to the printers, contact local businesses for donations and secure a place to cook the chili. October is when we start contacting club members asking for help selling tickets. November leads us to the PR for the dinner. By December we start lining up volunteers for the 2 day event. Once January arrives we are in the final push of shopping and all the last minute details.

This year we offered chili with meat, meatless chili, chili with noodles, hot dogs, chips and a beverage. You could eat in or take a container as a carry out. We had 3 raffles this year. A 50/50 which netted the club $251.00, won by Erin Davidson. A candy basket, won by club member Dan Knodl and a night on the town basket won by Lolita Schneider. These brought in $247.00 for the club.

This year marks the first time we sold out of chili. The club has 189 members and 129 members responded. The tickets are numbered for a better accounting system. During the 2 day event we had 56 club volunteers, 6 members from the Sussex/Lisbon club volunteer and 10 volunteers from the Kohl’s Cares program. Six local grocery stores donated for a total of $150.00. They included Pick ‘N’Save, Costco, Target, Fresh Thyme Market, Kwik Trip and Woodman’s. The meat for the chili was donated as well as about half the vegetables.

We had $5,219.50 in pre ticket sales and $279.50 sales at the door. We had 263 people eat in and 188 people who took chili in takeout containers. This year our total revenue was $7,442.00 with expenses of $1,400.22 for a net profit of $6,041.78.

Thank you to everyone who bought or donated tickets, sold tickets, came and helped both days, and those who came and enjoyed a bowl of chili. A special thanks to Ann Freudenthal who lined up all the volunteers, Shannon Dederich who lined up the Kohl’s Cares volunteers, and Jerry Mislang who does a great job promoting the dinner with all the coaches and parents of both schools.

Thank you to my committee, Sue Carney who always keeps me grounded and on track, Kathy Matthiessen who makes everything about this event fun and always makes herself available for whatever comes up, Rose Schwartz for her organization and creative talent, and Tom Wagner for his superb shopping skills. That is why we get the best deals out there.

As always, if you have any suggestions on how to make this event better, and stronger please email me at kirstensperl@gmail.com . We are also asking from the 60 club members who never responded to letters, emails or phone calls, is there any way that would make it easier for you to get involved? Please let me or someone else in the club know.

Thank you
Kirsten Sperl, Chili dinner chair


Students of the Month

Photo by Don Gorzek

The Menomonee Falls Optimist Club Students of the Month for January 2018 include from left, North Middle School Anna Whitty and Sadie Siebert, both seventh graders, Julia Miller an eight grader at St. Mary’s and from MFHS junior Hannah Lucht. Not present to receive his award was Michael Young, a junior at MFHS.


Optimist Club Meeting Photos

Photos by Don Gorzek

MFHS Wrestling Team with their New Head Coach Andy Rutke, a former student and longtime resident, gave us an update on his program and we had a chance meet many of the grapplers on this season’s squad.






Officer Nick Gapinski, a MFPD Home Security Specialist, spoke at our January 17, 2018 meeting






January 3 Meeting at Innovation Center at MFHS

Photos by Don Gorzek

Optimists had our January night meeting in the Menomonee Falls High School Innovation Center, located in the lower level of the high school. After a brief business meeting, we got to see some cool stuff to make us wish we were back in high school! Do you know what STEM means? Are you baffled by some of today’s technology? Bret Warner, head of the Technical Education Department, talked about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and took us on a tour of the facility. Club members heard about how Menomonee Falls High School is preparing our students to be ready to lead in an ever-changing technological and economic global marketplace. A tour of the Innovation Center at the High School included a chance to see a plasma metal cutter and many of the other technology tools available for students to use for projects.


—- This Month in Club History —

February 15, 2000 (18 years ago) – To the envy of all other clubs in Wisconsin, we hit the magic 100 mark in members. In a time when many service clubs are struggling or disbanding, the Falls Optimist Club continues to grow in size and stature. Submitted by Jerry Mislang from the 40 Year History Program – courtesy of Ed Schlumpf

—- Thank You Notes —-

The club received thank you notes from the following:

  • WASA – Big Cheese Classic wheelchair basketball tourney donation
  • Ralph Krueger – In School Bowling Program donation
  • Madison Grzesiak – scholarship
  • Falls Patio Players – donation

—- How to Publish Optimist News –—-

There are multiple venues for publishing Optimist news and events the community and to the Optimist members. It is important to get the word out so everyone is aware of the events we sponsor to benefit the youth of the community. Committee chairs are responsible for writing the articles and sending them via email to the people listed below:

  • NEWSLETTER Jerry Mislang no later than the 25th of each month – jerry.mislang@prodigy.net
  • NEWSPAPERS Kim Wenzel three or more weeks prior to your event, as quickly as possible after an event – kfwenzel87@gmail.com
  • FACEBOOK Cathy Sharkey, Dawn Mariscal or Lynette Shepherd – csharkey224@yahoo.com, dmariscal@wi.rr.com, llshep4ma@gmail.com
  • WEBSITE Beth Saunders –  bethjsaunders@gmail.com

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.